I’ve always been an open book, if you will, when it comes to pretty much everything. And I mean everything, except that is for my struggle with infertility. This struggle…this fight…this sadness I’ve kept pretty much to myself (and NewsBoy of course). Yes, our parents and siblings are aware of what we are going through. And yes, I do have a small handful of RL girlfriends who know what we are going through. But by and large, in my real life, I have kept this to myself. Sure I have found amazing support online with people who don’t know me and wouldn’t know me if they walked right into me on the street. But my family and the people that are part of my every day life have no idea what we are going through.
After my friend IvoryGirl read my Thanksgiving post we started talking about how we keep our infertility from the people we are closest with but share it freely with complete strangers in cyberspace.
One of the main reasons I don’t want to go to Thanksgiving this year is my fear that I will simply blurt it all out at some point in response to someone being insensitive without even knowing it. Then I become family gossip. I don’t want that. Because this is no one’s business, right?
This is a very personal battle. I mean most people get to make love to their partner and surprise the world with a pregnancy whenever they see fit to share it. I don’t get that. I get phone calls and emails asking when my next doctor’s appointment is…when the next procedure or cycle will be. My sex life (or lack thereof) is out there for the world to know because I’m broken. I can’t have a baby the “old-fashioned” way. I need doctors and embryologists and anesthesiologists just to have a chance at having a baby. I get looks of pity and pep talks. (And who needs or wants those!? Or is it just me that gets really angry from that crap?) I don’t get to surprise anyone with the news if …IF…I actually get pregnant. Except those who have no idea I even want children. So part of me wants to maintain the secrecy just so I can surprise someone. Anyone.
But as I continued my conversation with IvoryGirl I admitted to skipping a lot…and I mean A LOT…of family functions over the past two years just because I couldn’t handle seeing kids or because I had just gotten a BFN again. In a way, it feels like I’m hiding from my life. I hate that. And I can’t figure out which will make things easier for me over time. I know with all my heart and soul that my family will do anything for me. I know that they will support me through anything and everything. But telling them comes with questions…the ones about when we decided to have kids…why we changed our minds…Am I ready to answer those questions? Do I even have to?
And then IvoryGirl in all her infinite wisdom said to me: “If they ask questions, you can say with impunity, ‘This is a really difficult process for us, and we’d prefer not to talk about it. I hope you can respect our wishes.’ And who knows, maybe having the visible support of your extended family will help you cope? Maybe in keeping it private, we’re giving ourselves a heavier burden to bear?”
And you know what? She is 100% absolutely positively right. How many of us suffer in silence daily only to cry to our computer screens because the people we talk to in cyberspace are the ONLY people who can even begin to imagine what it is that we are going through. We go through the motions of every day life. We smile at family gatherings and hang out at the bar (clearly there is a bar at my family gatherings) because it’s easier then facing the kids that are running around or the talk of so and so’s pregnancy. But IvoryGirl’s questions remains…are we making this harder on ourselves then it needs to be? I just don’t know…maybe we should have a little more faith in those we love? Maybe we should come out of the infertility closet?